Coworking for home workers and freelancers

Home workers – the benefits of coworking

Coworking just means getting together to work alongside other people, either for a day at Jelly, or on a more regular basis in a coworking space.

This short video from Seattle coworking space Office Nomads explains the concept beautifully:

Coworking came about in America a few years ago as a result of home workers and freelancers wanting to connect to other people for social and work support.

As we all know working from home has many advantages but it can also lead to isolation and loneliness.

Coworking spaces

rent out desks at accessible prices by the hour or day. They offer an alternative to freelancers and home workers who don’t want to work at home all the time, but who don’t want to commit to the expense and inflexibility of traditional rented office space.

In a coworking space you can enjoy the company of likeminded fellow professionals and maybe collaborate in new projects.

The coworking advocate: Lee Cottier

Lee Cottier, coworking advocate Lee lives and works in Bristol and is a passionate advocate of coworking in southwest England. I spoke to him about his motivation and plans for the future:

What’s your working background, Lee?

I’m a freelance management and personal development trainer and I worked from home for several years. But I found it isolating and so rented a desk in serviced offices for eight or nine months. Then I found that I was just leaving my box at home to go and sit in another box!

I’ve also tried working nomadically from coffee shops, but discovered it has all sorts of disadvantages. You have to hunt around to find a seat near a power socket, the chairs are hard, you just get settled when a noisy group sits next to you, you drink far too much coffee and there’s always the danger you might get chucked out!

How did you discover coworking?

I follow a blog called Lifehacker and about a year ago I came across an article on it about a coworking space. I felt I’d found the mid-ground that would provide connection to others as well as a place to work.

That article led to me to information about Jelly, free coworking events for home workers and freelancers. As to my surprise it wasn’t happening locally I’ve since organised half a dozen Jelly events at various venues in Bristol and Bath, and there’s plenty of demand for more.

What’s so special about coworking?

Coworking West - Lee CottierI find coworking motivational because it involves the ritual of ‘going to work’, and also, because I’m surrounded by other people and can connect with them and share ideas.

So for me coworking has lots of good features and none of the bad I found in working entirely at home and in coffee shops.

How do home workers react to the idea of coworking?

I invariably get one of two reactions. The first is ‘Huh?’ and I simply can’t explain it at all. The second is ‘I so have to do that!‘ and I don’t need to explain it. Those home workers get it instantly and want to be part of it. They have an emotional recognition of the benefits of coworking.

And what are the benefits?

People who wouldn’t otherwise meet end up sitting next to each other and exchanging help and advice. Genuinely new business ideas have come out of Jelly already.

For example, at the last Jelly we were talking about how useful a particular web app would be, and then discovered it didn’t actually exist. By the end of the day one of the Jelly homeworkers had coded the prototype.

Coworking offers the opportunity to stay sane while getting out of the house and meeting people who are mutually useful.  It’s a completely different vibe to traditional networking where most people go hoping to meet prospective customers.

I’m finding that people tend to keep in touch after Jelly, for example by connecting on Linkedin, or by having one-to-one meetings. Coworking offers huge potential for collaboration.

What do you have in mind for the future?

We have such an active community of entrepreneurs, home workers and freelancers in this area that there surely needs to be more options for people who would otherwise be working from home or from coffee shops.

It would be great if by spreading the word about the benefits of coworking we could end up with a thriving choice of coworking spaces like they have in Brighton – flexible workspace available as and when people need it, without having to make long-term commitments.

Lee has now stepped down from actively promoting Jelly to concentrate on his learning and development work.

Coworking & Jelly Logo - freelancer & home workers salvation

Enjoyed this and want to know more? Try –

Attending Jelly

How to start your own Jelly


Jelly for home workers

Jellyquette – what’s that?

Checklist for Jelly organisers

Pass Jelly forward

Jelly for workhubs